Best Ear to the Ground San Francisco 2003 - The Quiet American's "Field Effects"
"I am opinionated and verbose," admits Aaron Ximm on his Web site, www.quietamerican.org. "To those who suffer for these things I offer this: What I hear when I am quiet." It's an unusual penance, but lucky for us, Ximm's commitment to amplifying downtime has resulted in one of the most electrifying event series in the city. "Field Effects," an occasional listening session at Ximm's Natoma Street loft, is dedicated to presentations of "phonography," or field recording. While listeners sprawl about the low-key space, sound artists present either live performances or simple tape playbacks of field recordings, whether they be vivid "audio postcards" made while traveling or minimalist collages of white noise. Different from rave culture's stereotypical chill-out spaces -- which are defined in opposition to the throbbing dance floor -- "Field Effects" stands starkly on its own terms. What you hear is all there is, and the rest of the world slips away. As Ximm wrote regarding a recent performance, "Subtle manipulation leads to total dislocation."